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Archive for January, 2014

Building to Impress: A New Home for the Hershey Trust Company

New Year.  New Exhibit.  I’ve just mounted a new display in the Archives’ exhibit case in the Grand Lobby of The Hershey Story.  This time the exhibit takes a look at building a new building for Hershey Trust Company.

 

Once Milton Hershey set his mind to something, he moved quickly and decisively.  And building a town for his new chocolate factory was no exception.  During the town’s first thirteen years, construction was constant as buildings went up, were enlarged and even replaced as the town grew.  The reason, of course, was because Hershey’s chocolate business was booming and the town needed to grow to accommodate the growing numbers of workers being hired for the chocolate factory.

 

View of Hershey from the chocolate factory smokestack.  ca1906-1909

View of Hershey from the chocolate factory smokestack. ca1906-1909

 

Hershey, of course, was much more than the chocolate factory.  Milton Hershey established a wide variety of businesses to serve the town.  Hershey Trust Company, the town’s first bank, opened in 1905.  By 1910, the trust company’s business was outgrowing its original home.  Milton Hershey asked noted Lancaster architect, C. Emlen Urban, to design a building appropriate for the town’s financial institution.  His design for the new building incorporated classical elements to reflect the importance of its primary occupant.

 

Titzel Construction Company construction crew stands in front of the future Hershey Trust Company.  1913

Titzel Construction Company construction crew stands in front of the future Hershey Trust Company. 1913

 

On August 20, 1912, workers broke ground for a new bank building at the intersection of Cocoa and Chocolate Avenues.  Various construction setbacks delayed the completion of the building for almost a year.  The building finally opened in the summer of 1914.

 

Archival collections hold many documents that trace the path and delays of construction.  If you’re in town, stop in and check out the new exhibit.

Following in your father’s footsteps?

Henry Hershey standing in front of his greenhouse, 1900

Henry Hershey with an experimental pear tree, 1900

 

Milton Hershey’s father, Henry Hershey, is a bit of an enigma.  Henry Hershey came from a well-to-do Lancaster County Mennonite farming family.  As the first-born (he had six siblings!), he should have been the responsible child, shouldering family responsibilities and following in his father’s footsteps as a successful farmer.

 

However, Henry Hershey did not fit the mould as a typical first born child.  His heart was not in farming but in learning, not something particularly valued by his practical and prosperous father.  It appears that Henry tried to satisfy both his father and himself and ended up failing at both goals.

 

You have to wonder how Milton Hershey was influenced by his father’s experiences and failures.  Would he have had the opportunity to discover his passion for candy-making if he had been the son of a successful, prosperous farmer such as his grand-father rather than the son of a dreamer who chased rainbows but never found the pot of gold at the end?

 

Learn more about Henry Hershey at the Archives’ website.